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For Immediate Release

DOJ Report Slams Sherriff Joe Arpaio and DHS Restricts 287(g) and Secure Communities Programs

December 15, 2011

Washington D.C. - After a three-year investigation into the abusive practices of Sherriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sherriff’s Office (MCSO), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that it had found a pattern and practice of civil rights abuses, including extreme cases of racial profiling. The enormity of the violations, the majority of which were experienced by immigrants and Latinos, has led the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to suspend its cooperation agreement (under section 287(g)) with the sheriff’s office and restrict the MCSO’s access to immigration databases through the Secure Communities program.
The dual announcements from DOJ and DHS reinforce what many in Arizona and the broader immigration community have long argued: the practice of allowing local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law increases the likelihood of racial profiling and pretextual arrests which leads to disastrous results for entire communities.
The DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez commented on the investigation noting “MCSO’s systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people. The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO’s culture, and are compounded by MCSO’s penchant for retaliation against individuals who speak out.”
The DOJ has requested a response from Maricopa County and writes “If MCSO is not interested or if we deem that MCSO is not engaged in good-faith efforts to achieve compliance by voluntary means, we are prepared to file a civil action to compel compliance.”
The report contains a review of the constitutional abuses rampant in Maricopa County including an analysis by a leading expert on measuring racial profiling who examined MCSO traffic stops and found that “Latino drivers were between four to nine times more likely to be stopped than similarly situated non-Latino drivers. Overall, the expert concluded that this case involves the most egregious racial profiling in the United States that he has ever personally seen in the course of his work, observed in litigation, or reviewed in professional literature.”
Today’s announcements also highlight the critical issues at stake in the upcoming Supreme Court review of Arizona’s SB 1070, a law that institutionalized the role of state law enforcement in federal immigration matters. Even under the best of circumstances, ceding immigration authority to state officers presents an array of complex and politically charged issues. Under the worst of circumstances, as illustrated by Sherriff Arpaio’s MCSO, state and local law enforcement agencies enforcing federal immigration laws can be disasterous.


For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524

Promueve la diversidad dentro de nuestra propia comunidad hispana en cualquier lugar de EE.UU. / Promote diversity even among our own Hispanic Community anywhere in the USA.

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US department of Justice


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Department of Justice releases investigative findings on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office

Findings Show Pattern or Practice of Wide-ranging Discrimination Against Latinos and retaliatory actions against individuals who criticized MCSO activities


WASHINGTON – Following a comprehensive investigation, the Justice Department today announced its findings in the ongoing civil rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). The Justice Department found reasonable cause to believe that MCSO, under the leadership of Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, has engaged in a pattern or practice of misconduct that violates the Constitution and federal law. The investigation, opened in June 2008, was conducted under the provisions of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Title VI implementing regulations.

The department found reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct and/or violations of federal law occurred in several areas, including:

· Discriminatory policing practices including unlawful stops, detentions and arrests of Latinos;

· Unlawful retaliation against individuals exercising their First Amendment right to criticize MCSO’s policies or practices, including but not limited to practices relating to its discriminatory treatment of Latinos; and

· Discriminatory jail practices against Latino inmates with limited English proficiency by punishing them and denying them critical services.

The Justice Department found a number of long-standing and entrenched systemic deficiencies that caused or contributed to these patterns of unlawful conduct, including:

· A failure to implement policies guiding deputies on lawful policing practices;

· Allowing specialized units to engage in unconstitutional practices;

· Inadequate training;

· Inadequate supervision;

· An ineffective disciplinary, oversight and accountability system; and

· A lack of sufficient external oversight and accountability.

In addition to these formal pattern or practice findings, the investigation uncovered additional areas of serious concern, including:

· Use of excessive force;

· Police practices that have the effect of significantly compromising MCSO’s ability to adequately protect Latino residents; and

· Failure to adequately investigate allegations of sexual assaults.

While no formal findings of pattern or practice violations have been made in connection with these issues, the investigation remains ongoing.

“MCSO’s systematic disregard for basic constitutional protections has created a wall of distrust between the sheriff’s office and large segments of the community, which dramatically compromises the ability to protect and serve the people,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The problems are deeply rooted in MCSO’s culture, and are compounded by MCSO’s penchant for retaliation against individuals who speak out.”

The department’s thorough and independent investigation involved an in-depth review of MCSO practices, as well as extensive community engagement. Department attorneys, investigators and experts conducted interviews with more than 400 individuals including, 75 current and former MCSO supervisors and deputies, including Sheriff Arpaio, and 150 former and current MCSO inmates. In addition, the department reviewed thousands of pages of documents. Many of the interviews and much of this review was delayed when MCSO refused to provide required documents and access. MCSO finally provided the required access and documents after the department filed a lawsuit under Title VI in September 2010.

Addressing the findings, and reforming MCSO, requires a sustained commitment to long term structural, cultural and institutional change. MCSO must develop and implement new policies and procedures and train its officers in effective and constitutional policing. In addition, MCSO must implement systems to ensure accountability, and eliminate unlawful bias from all levels of law enforcement decision making.

The department will seek to obtain a court enforceable agreement and will attempt to work with MCSO and Maricopa County officials to develop and implement a comprehensive reform plan with the judicial oversight needed to address the violations of the Constitution and federal law.

“Effective policing and constitutional policing go hand in hand. Developing and implementing meaningful reforms will assist in reducing crime, ensuring respect for the Constitution, and ensuring that the people of Maricopa County have confidence in MCSO’s commitment to fair and effective law enforcement,” said Thomas E. Perez. “We hope to resolve the concerns outlined in our findings in a collaborative fashion, but we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action if MCSO chooses a different course of action.”

This investigation was conducted by the Special Litigation Section and the Federal Coordination and Compliance Section of the Civil Rights Division with the assistance of law enforcement professionals, including former police chiefs, a jail practices consultant and a consultant on statistical analysis. Members of the Maricopa County community who may wish to provide information to the department in furtherance of this investigation may call 1-877-613-2137 or email community.maricopa@usdoj.gov.

The full report can be found at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php. For more information on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, please visit http://www.justice.gov/crt.




Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU


Jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011


El Departamento de Justicia Divulga Resultados de la Investigación de la Oficina del Alguacil del Condado de Maricopa

Las conclusiones indican un patrón o una práctica de discriminación amplia contra hispanos y represalias contra personas que criticaron las actividades de la MCSO


WASHINGTON - Después de una investigación exhaustiva, el Departamento de Justicia anunció hoy sus conclusiones en la investigación de derechos civiles en curso sobre la Oficina del Alguacil del Condado de Maricopa [Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)]. El Departamento de Justicia encontró causa razonable para creer que la MCSO, bajo el liderazgo del Alguacil Joseph M. Arpaio, ha exhibido un patrón o práctica de conducta indebida que viola la Constitución y la ley federal. La investigación, abierta en junio de 2008, fue realizada de acuerdo con la Ley de Control de Delitos Violentos y Coacción Legal de 1994 y el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, y las normas de implementación del Título VI.

El Departamento de Justicia encontró causa razonable para creer que ocurrió un patrón o práctica de conducta inconstitucional y/o violaciones de la ley federal en varias áreas, entre las que se incluyen:

  • Prácticas de acción policial discriminatorias, entre las que se incluyen paradas, detenciones y arrestos ilícitos de hispanos;
  • Represalias ilegales contra personas que hacían ejercicio de su derecho de la Primera Enmienda de criticar las políticas o prácticas de la MCSO, incluidas, entre otras, prácticas relacionadas con el tratamiento discriminatorio dado a los hispanos; y
  • Prácticas carcelarias discriminatorias contra presidiarios hispanos con conocimientos limitados del idioma inglés, al castigarlos y negarles servicios críticos.

El Departamento de Justicia encontró una serie de deficiencias sistémicas antiguas y enraizadas que provocaron o contribuyeron para estos patrones de conducta ilícita, incluidos:

  • Ausencia de implementación de políticas que orientaran a los delegados respecto de prácticas policiales;
  • Permitir que unidades especializadas utilizaran prácticas inconstitucionales;
  • Capacitación inadecuada;
  • Supervisión inadecuada;
  • Un sistema disciplinario, de supervisión y de rendición de cuentas por actos propios ineficaces; y
  • Falta de supervisión y responsabilización externas suficientes.

Además de estas conclusiones formales de patrones o prácticas, la investigación reveló áreas adicionales de gran preocupación, incluidas:

  • Uso de fuerza excesiva;
  • Prácticas policiales con el efecto de comprometer significativamente la capacidad de la MCSO de proteger adecuadamente a los residentes hispanos; y
  • Falta de investigación adecuada de alegatos de agresiones sexuales.

Si bien no hubo hallazgos formales de violaciones de patrón o práctica en conexión con estos temas, la investigación continúa en curso.

“La indiferencia sistemática de la MCSO respecto de protecciones constitucionales básicas ha creado un muro de desconfianza entre la oficina del Alguacil y grandes segmentos de la comunidad, lo cual compromete significativamente la capacidad de la misma de proteger y servir al pueblo", dijo Thomas E. Perez, Secretario de Justicia Auxiliar de la División de Derechos Civiles. “Los problemas están profundamente enraizados en la cultura de la MCSO, y se ven agravados por la tendencia de a MCSO a las represalias contra las personas que dicen lo que piensan”.

La investigación exhaustiva e independiente del departamento consistió en un análisis profundo de las prácticas de la MCSO, así como la participación extensa de la comunidad. Abogados, investigadores y expertos del Departamento realizaron entrevistas con más de 400 personas, incluidos 75 supervisores y delegados actuales y anteriores de la MSCO, entre los que se incluyó el Alguacil Arpaio y 150 actuales y anteriores presidiarios de la MCSO. Además, el departamento analizó miles de páginas de documentos. Muchas de las entrevistas y gran parte de este análisis se demoró cuando la MCSO se negó a proveer los documentos y el acceso requeridos. Finalmente, la MCSO brindó el acceso y los documentos requeridos después de que el departamento entabló una demanda bajo el Título VI en septiembre de 2010.

Abordar los hallazgos de la investigación, y reformar la MCSO, requiere un compromiso sostenido para con un cambio estructural, cultural e institucional de largo plazo. La MCSO debe desarrollar e implementar nuevas políticas y procedimientos, y capacitar a sus agentes en servicios policiales eficaces y constitucionales. Además, la MCSO debe implementar sistemas para garantizar la responsabilización y eliminar la parcialidad ilícita de todos los niveles de la toma de decisiones asociadas a la aplicación de la ley.

El departamento buscará obtener un acuerdo con fuerza ejecutoria judicial e intentará trabajar con la MCSO y funcionarios del Condado de Maricopa en el desarrollo y la implementación de un plan de reforma integral con la supervisión judicial necesaria para corregir las violaciones de la Constitución y la ley federal. “La acción policial eficaz y la acción policial constitucional van de la mano. El desarrollo y la implementación de reformas significativas ayudarán a reducir el delito, asegurando el respecto por la Constitución y garantizando que el pueblo del Condado de Maricopa confíe en el compromiso de la MSCO hacia hacer valer la ley de manera justa y efectiva", dijo Thomas E. Perez. “Esperamos resolver las inquietudes detalladas en nuestras conclusiones de manera conjunta; sin embargo, no hesitaremos en tomar la acción legal correspondiente si la MCSO elige una línea de acción diferente”.

Esta investigación fue conducida por la Sección de Litigios Especiales de la Sección de Coordinación y Cumplimiento Federales de la División de Derechos Civiles con la asistencia de profesionales de las fuerzas del orden público, incluidos ex jefes de la policía, un asesor en prácticas carcelarias y un asesor en análisis estadístico. Los miembros de la comunidad del Condado de Maricopa que deseen brindar información al Departamento para el avance de esta investigación pueden llamar al 1-877-613-2137 o enviar un mensaje de correo electrónico a community.maricopa@usdoj.gov.

Se puede encontrar el informe entero en http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/mcso.php. Para obtener más información sobre la División de Derechos Civiles del Departamento de Justicia, visite http://www.justice.gov/crt.


Promueve la diversidad dentro de nuestra propia comunidad hispana en cualquier lugar de EE.UU. / Promote diversity even among our own Hispanic Community anywhere in the USA.
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